Thales and SMRT Trains partner on next-generation rail signalling technologies for greener rides in Singapore
As part of its commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, SMRT Trains has partnered Thales on a key initiative called “The Next-Generation Green CBTC Project”, which aims to reduce electricity consumption and further improve traction energy efficiency of the North-South and East-West lines (NSEWL), which are the oldest in Singapore’s rail network.
© SMRT Trains
- Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) systems runs on traction power that is inherently green and offers an environmentally sustainable alternative for the nation’s residents.
- The Automatic Train Control system, developed by Thales during the re-signalling of the North-South and East-West (NSEW) lines, integrates Smart and Green Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) algorithms.
- These Green CBTC algorithms enable an automated, driverless train following optimised curves to save energy while improving punctuality, making Singapore’s oldest rail network more reliable and sustainable.
- This partnership between Thales and SMRT Trains to further develop the next generation Green CBTC aims to evaluate the operational effectiveness of its green features using data analytics, and to expand the potential uses of such intelligent application to reduce traction energy of the NSEW lines by 15%.
Thales’s SelTracTM CBTC signalling system first entered service on the NSEW lines in 2017 and has since increased the reliability of the signalling system and enhanced the passenger experience. As the NSEW lines are managed by CBTC signalling, the traction-related actions of acceleration, braking and coasting are controlled by the Automatic Train Operation (ATO) system.
Since its entry into service, Thales’s Automatic Train Control (ATC) system running on these lines has introduced smart algorithms that determine how a train is controlled, following optimised running curves to achieve best energy-saving results with negligible impact on travel time.
For instance, coasting techniques – where the electricity supply to the train's traction motors is shut off and the brakes are not applied – are used between stations in predefined locations which have been carefully identified to optimise environmental performance. Line topography and train speeds at different locations of the MRT lines are fully integrated in the software to maximise the use of train coasting mode and thus save energy.
At present, traction usage constitutes 60% of total energy use on the NSEW lines. The direct impact to energy usage on the NSEW lines from both train movement profiles and operational profiles will be analysed using operational revenue data collected by the SelTracTM CBTC system to continuously improve the algorithms and recommend suitable changes. By improving train movement profiles through the signalling system and making minor modifications to operational procedures, SMRT Trains and Thales are targeting a 15% reduction in traction power, inherently making passenger rides on the NSEW lines greener
“In support of Singapore’s ambitions towards net zero emissions by 2050, Thales is proud to partner SMRT Trains on the next-generation Green CBTC Project This serves as a testament to how Thales is working closely with our local customers to provide cutting-edge technology solutions to real-world challenges. Through this collaboration, we’re excited to provide more reliable and greener passenger journeys for Singapore’s commuters.” Emily Tan, Country Director & Chief Executive, Thales in Singapore.
“This joint development of the Next-Generation Green CBTC system on NSEWL is a project that shows SMRT’s commitment to long-term sustainability and net-zero emissions. We are glad to partner Thales to enable energy-optimised train operations. In view of rising electricity costs, any reduction of energy usage in our operations will contribute to greater productivity and financial sustainability.” Lam Sheau Kai, President, SMRT Trains.
Over the last decade, Thales has reinforced its position as a leading transportation provider for ticketing, communication and signalling solutions in Singapore. In February 2022, Thales and SMRT Trains signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate and leverage digital technologies such as data analytics to enhance rail maintenance and operations and deliver reliable and sustainable rides in Singapore. This Green CBTC initiative is the latest illustration of the strong partnership between Thales and local rail operator to make green railway journeys a reality. The project also marks the 10-year anniversary of Thales's selection by SMRT to provide its renowned signalling solutions for Singapore’s oldest rail lines.